Mirages


Some seasons are just harder than others. 

I’ve been in a season where I have been towing a load that feels painful and tough. 

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Yet, at every corner, I am lavished with God’s favor. I mean lavished! I can’t be easily offended because good continues to rain down. I can’t feel rejected because God continues to bring new life, encouragement, and support. One leaves. One comes. One says no. Someone says yes! People slam doors, but God opens new ones!
 

Desert mirages fool your eyes into thinking there’s water and refreshment in the midst of drought. 
 
But in God’s world, the desert is the mirage. Even when it feels and appears dry, there’s living water and refreshment all around! 

What season are you in?


Blessed is the one
who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
or sit in the company of mockers,
but whose delight is in the law of the LORD,
and who meditates on his law day and night.
That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
whatever they do prospers.
 
—Psalm 1:1–3 (NIV)
 
 
 

 


Sucidal Thoughts

This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live—Deuteronomy 30:19 NIV
Have suicidal thoughts ever crossed your mind?

Maybe you were abused, and you just can’t seem to get past it. Maybe you did something horrible, and you don’t want to face the consequences. Maybe you are miserable and lonely.

I can tell you, from my personal experience, there IS a way out.

I met a girl this year who has really been struggling with her mind in this area. This is exactly what the enemy wants us to do. His goal is to steal, kill, and destroy YOU!

I don’t know about you, but I like to win. This is a challenge to me—that he is not going to prevail, PERIOD! I will not raise the white flag.
Wouldnt that just be doing to your kids what your parents did to you, in a way? Isnt it letting the enemy win and leaving your kids open to potential abuse? Would you leave them and not protect them? Is that really what you want to do?

Motherhood is the ultimate sacrifice of laying down your own desires and your selfishness for another. God gave you kids for a purpose. You have an opportunity now to turn it around. You can seize it, or you can continue to let the enemy steal your life and the lives of generations to come. The enemy has no power over you except deception. Deception is in your mind. You are allowing your mind to get out of control like a runaway train. 
I am sorry for your past. I am. Its truly hard to leave it, but its time. The past is just that—the past. Let it go so you can live for today. 
Today, you have a choice. Life or death, blessings or curses. 

Dont let someone else or your past choose for you.

Stop right now and make a list of 200 things you are thankful for. Start choosing to think on these things, and I guarantee you will see that Jesus Christ, the word of God, and a deliberate attitude of thankfulness are far more powerful than any drug or alcohol. Gods truth is permanent, free, and all-powerful. It defeats every enemy! 

You may know Gods word from when you were little, but maybe you dont understand that the word that was sown in you is a weapon— a mighty weapon! You have to choose to use it. You have everything you need. You already have victory in the Lord. You just need to claim it!

Dont think about the past. Instead, start dreaming about your future. What could your life look like in ten years? What can you do in your family, starting now? How can you help others like you and change their lives through your life and your testimony?

You need to surrender fully to Gods truth. You have to decide to believe that Gods word is more true than how you feel and what you think. Gods grace and love and wisdom are more than enough to help you cope with what happened to you and the trouble you will have today. His promises are true. He is real, and He is faithful! He loves you.

Its your choice.  

If you choose life, do these things:

1) Start speaking these truths over yourself. Say them out loud. In the morning, at lunch, at dinner, and before bed.
(Proverbs 18:21)

2) Get a Bible and start reading John and Ephesians. As you read, ask God to open your heart so you will understand. Write down these headings on a piece of paper: Who is God? Who am I? Now, as you read, if anything stands out to you, write it down.

3) Dont leave the house or do anything until you have written down 100 things you are thankful for. Take this list with you. Keep reading it. Add to it as you go. Dont leave anything out. The sky this morning was amazing.

4) Ask God to help you know Him better. Pray to Him. Talk with Him. Pour out your heart. He is listening.

5) Get in a church that proclaims Gods truth according to the Bible. Tell someone strong around you that you need encouragement. Give them this list of actions and have them hold you accountable.

6) If you are harboring any bitterness or an unforgiving attitude toward your past, your parents, or anyone or anything else, its time to work on letting it go so you can move forward in the freedom God wants you to have. Find something—anything—that you can be thankful for and think about that when bad feelings come up. Dont give bitterness a foothold any longer—not even an inch!

7) Speak the name of Jesus aloud when fear, doubt, hopelessness, and bitterness try to take hold of you (Mark 11:22-26; Ephesians 1:17-21). Resist the enemy! Resist past thinking. Resist negative thoughts. The only way to do this is with Gods word and being thankful. There is power and authority in the name of Jesus. Darkness must flee!

If you do these things faithfully, your thoughts will change and you will be a new person in 60-90 days. Your life wont look the same this time next year. Take your life back; dont give it back. 

Are You in a Battle?


Are you in a battle for your health, your life, your encouragement, or your positivity today? Don’t sit around and wait until you have no doubts. You have to choose to believe God’s word. It’s a daily choice. You are never going to live this life without any doubts at all until you are in heaven.


We battle. We battle our minds. We battle our flesh. That is why the Lord tells us to take every thought captive and make it obedient to Him. That’s why we are supposed to be a living sacrifice. Sacrifice that is living continually wants to walk, get up and move up to the altar and take up its own agenda.

We have a battle. There is a raging battle between the flesh and the spirit all the time. To assume you are not going to have any doubts is just deceiving yourself. It’s okay. Just choose to believe God’s word. Put the doubts down. Take the thought captive. Refuse to dwell on them and think about them and think more about God’s promises than you do on
the doubts.

You are not being a hypocrite when you choose to believe God’s word when you are in a fight and you are in the middle of the struggle. You are actually deciding who you really are. “Am I really this person in the flesh who is in the middle of a battle between my doubts and my faith or am I who God says I am?” Do you think the real you is your natural mind, your carnal-mindedness? Or do you think your spirit-man is your real you? You have to decide who the real you is and begin to stand in it.

I know the flesh is powerful. It feels like the real you. The doubts are the real you. But the Bible says you become a new creation. You are born again. You’re now a child of God, an alien in this world. You have crossed over out of death and into life. Who is the real you? You have to decide: “This is the real me.”

The new you on the inside is perfect and has the mind of Christ says 1 Corinthians 2:16. Colossians 3:10 says we have been renewed in the knowledge and the image that created us. 1 John 2:1 says we know all things. It’s not talking about what is in our mind. It’s talking about what is in your spirit. We are just too carnal. We think we are limited by what we know and our knowledge, instead of tapping into the power and the unlimited knowledge of God. When we agree with our thoughts, our own understanding, we limit God from working in our lives and ability to agree with Him.

The new you on the inside is righteous and holy and pure. If you believe the real you has been truly born again, is a new creation, and you are who God says you are, then you are a hypocrite for agreeing with your fleshly doubts. If you consider being a hypocrite is one speaking the word of God and believing you are the righteousness of Christ, then you think the real you is the emotional, physical you and not the spiritual one that has been born again.

It’s time to find out who you are in Christ and change your identity—to have that identity of who you are in Him. Be more true than what you look like, what you feel like, what your emotions say, what has happened to you, and the circumstances around you, so you would truly know who God says you are and agree with that more than anything. It would be greater and larger than anything that comes against you. You would not be faithless in challenges if you would simply believe God.

Encourage Yourself in the Lord

Several years ago, I got an offer to go work for a company in Dallas. I drove down to check everything out. Wow. I couldn’t believe rush hour traffic. Rush hour started at three o’clock and lasted until seven o’clock every evening. That is four hours. Your commute from home to work could easily be ninety minutes to two hours. My friends did it often. They would leave for the office by 6 a.m. so they could beat traffic on the way to the office, and they would come home at seven. I thought about the quality of life, and I turned that job down quickly.

In rush hour, you are never alone. There’s traffic everywhere. Everywhere you look, you see people, and you can wave and smile at people. On the other hand, sometimes if you’re driving at night on a country road, you may not see anyone for an hour.

                                      

Scripture says there is a wide path and a narrow path. I think of it in terms of traffic. The wide path is like rush hour traffic. It’s busy. Most people are on this road, going in the same direction. They’re all on a mission to get somewhere, from here to there, point A to point B. The narrow path is the less-traveled road. The people on it are few and far between. You might be walking all by yourself for a while before you see another person passing by.
I think the narrow path in Christ can feel lonely at times. You can look around and see the busy rush hour traffic, but you don’t jump in and join it. You choose to take a secondary road. It’s like deciding, “I’m getting off of interstate 40 onto this side road. I’m going to take the backwoods route.”
Think about it. When you get off onto those secondary roads, they’re more peaceful and winding. They’re beautiful. But sometimes the rest stop is a backwoods mechanic shop with a filthy bathroom. The towns are few and far between. Sometimes you have to pee in the grass. It can be challenging to take the narrow path of God because it isn’t traveled by as many people.
Christians can fall into the trap of doing things because everyone else is doing them. Sometimes we don’t even think about it or we figure, “It’s okay for this family, so it’s okay for our family.” I see Christians doing this every day. They give their kids wider and wider boundaries. What they are doing is taking them from the narrow path to the wide path. Their children start exposing themselves to entertainment and other influences that may jeopardize their purity. Before you know it, instead of following God, they are following the world.
As Christians, we need to protect the wellspring of life that is our heart and make good choices. I believe Christians should be out front. People should want to be like us. They should be following our way and wanting to make the choices we’re making because our fruit is awesome. We don’t look like the world. We love the world, but we don’t look like the world. We’re in the world but not of the world.
I will tell you right now, making the decision to stay on the narrow path no matter what is lonely at times. You are going to find that your friends on the narrow path are a wide range of ages, say seventy down to twelve. There are so few people that you have to change your perspective of what your friendship circle should look like so you can be close with people who you know are making these choices with you.
I would encourage you to connect, but when you feel lonely, encourage yourself in the Lord. Keep yourself encouraged like David in 1 Samuel 30. Don’t look to anyone else to encourage you. Enjoy their encouragement when it comes along but don’t rely on it. Don’t stand on it for strength. Stand on the Lord and His strength and remember what He has done for you already.

Mirages

Some seasons are just harder than others. 

I’ve been in a season where I have been towing a load that feels painful and tough. 

Yet, at every corner, I am lavished in God’s favor. I mean lavished! I can’t be easily offended because good continues to rain down. I can’t feel rejected because God continues to bring new life, encouragement, and support. One leaves. One comes. One says no. Someone says yes! People slam doors, but God opens new ones! 

Desert mirages fool your eyes into thinking there’s water and refreshment in the midst of drought. 

But in God’s world, the desert is the mirage. Even when it feels and appears dry, there’s living water and refreshment all around! 

What season are you in? 

Blessed is the one<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-13941A" data-link="(A)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>
    who does not walk<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-13941B" data-link="(B)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”> in step with the wicked<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-13941C" data-link="(C)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>
or stand in the way<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-13941D" data-link="(D)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”> that sinners take<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-13941E" data-link="(E)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>
    or sit<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-13941F" data-link="(F)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”> in the company of mockers,<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-13941G" data-link="(G)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>
but whose delight<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-13942H" data-link="(H)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”> is in the law of the Lord,<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-13942I" data-link="(I)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>
    and who meditates<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-13942J" data-link="(J)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”> on his law day and night.
That person is like a tree <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-13943K" data-link="(K)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>planted by streams<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-13943L" data-link="(L)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”> of water,<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-13943M" data-link="(M)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>
    which yields its fruit<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-13943N" data-link="(N)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”> in season
and whose leaf<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-13943O" data-link="(O)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”> does not wither—
    whatever they do prospers. (Psalm 1:1–3 NIV)

Mountain or a Mole Hill?

I tried to let my marriage be my rock, be my hiding place. Well, guess what happened? It was after I got married, my husband, he just—he wasn’t all that he said was, all that he seemed that he was gonna be. And all of a sudden my hiding place had cracks in it and I was exposed in places I didn’t wanna be. And it brought out emotions I don’t really like. You know, like you hear me saying, “Are you kidding me? Are you serious?” 
As I looked up my mountain, I really didn’t think I like my husband anymore. And I’m stuck to him, and married to him, but I don’t even think I like him. I saw this book and it said, “Maybe marriage is meant to make you holy, not happy.” It didn’t matter how many hours I could’ve gone to marriage counseling, or worked on my marriage, or loved my husband more or done more to meet his needs. You know what, I missed that my number one covenant was with Father God.
I’m getting off track. So basically, the only way to conquer your mountain is from Isaiah , the scripture says, “Not by might, nor by power, but my spirit, says the Lord.” You can spend all day long to listen to people’s advice or try figure out how to build a train around your mountain, how to climb your mountain, how to conquer your mountain then get to the other side and you can do it by your might and by your power, but the only way to conquer your mountain indefinitely, completely, and perfectly is through the spirit of the living God and through Jesus Christ.
Listen to these verses. In Isaiah 41:15 that he said, “Oh you mountain of human obstacles, I will make you a molehill.” Wow. How many times have you heard that saying? Like you’re making a mountain out of a mole hill. Well, God says you have made a mountain. You’ve got a mountain in front of you and he’s gonna turn it around and make it a mole hill. Let’s look through the vision of God at our mountains and let’s see what’s really there. Physically standing in front of us, we might see a mountain. But by God’s spirit, it’s a mole hill.

Encourage yourself in the Lord

Several years ago, I got an offer to go to work for a company in Dallas. I drove down to check everything out. Wow. I couldn’t believe rush hour traffic. Rush hour started at three o’clock and lasted until seven o’clock every evening. That is four hours. Your commute from home to work could easily be up to two hours just for you driving. Ninety minutes to two hours, my friends did it often. They would leave for the office by six am so they could beat traffic on the way in to the office and they would come home at seven. I just thought about the quality of life and I turned that job down quickly.

In rush hour, you never are alone. There’s traffic everywhere. You constantly have to look and see—you see people, and you can wave at people and smile at people. They are everywhere, just constantly busy. But at night, when you’re driving—sometimes, you might be in a drive in a country road, and not see anyone for an hour.
                                     
Scripture says that there is a wide path and a narrow path. I think of those like traffic. The wide path is like rush hour traffic. It’s busy. Everyone is on it. Everyone’s going the same direction. They are all heading towards home. They’re all on a mission to get somewhere, from here to there, point A to point B. But the narrow path is a less-travelled road. Sometimes, people that are on it are few and far between. You might be walking a while all by yourself until you see another person passing you by.
I think the narrow path in Christ can feel lonely at times. You can look around and you can see the busy rush hour traffic but you don’t jump in and go on it. You choose to take a secondary road. If you’ve ever been on a trip or you’re like, “I’m getting off of interstate 40 and I’m going to go on this side road and backwoods.”
Think about it. When you get off on those roads, they’re more peaceful, they’re more winding. They’re beautiful. But sometimes the rest stops are a backwoods mechanic shop and its bathroom is filthy, dirty. There are few, far between. Sometimes you have to pee in the grass. It’s because, truly, the narrow path of God isn’t travelled by as many people. You’ve got people that are going to movies that may jeopardize your own purity because we gotta protect the wellspring of life which is our heart and make good choices.
So every choice we make, we never make it because everyone else is doing it or, “It’s okay for this family so it’s okay for our family.” I see Christians doing this every day. Every day, they are giving their kids wider and wider boundaries. What they are doing is they are taking them from the narrow path to a wider path. They are increasing their path from the narrow path into the wide path. So all of a sudden, the world is leading our children, not our children being led by God.
I believe that Christians should be the front. People should wanna be like us. They should be following our way. They should be making choices that we’re making because our fruit is awesome. We don’t look like the world. We love the world, but we don’t look like the world. We’re in the world, but not of the world.
I will tell you right now, making the decision to stay firmly planted on the narrow path no matter what is lonely at times. I think if you’re in your twenties, you’re gonna find that your friends on a narrow path is gonna be in a huge age range. Say 70 down to 12. There are so few people—few, and far between. You have to change your perspective of what your friendship circle is going to look like so that you can have an inner circle that is close and tight and the people that you know are making those choices with you.
I would encourage you to connect. When you feel lonely, just encourage yourself in the Lord. Keep yourself encouraged like 1 Samuel 36. Don’t look to anyone else to encourage you. Enjoy their encouragement when it comes along but don’t look to it. Don’t stand on it for strength. Stand on the Lord and His strength and what he has done for you already.